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William Shakespeare: Old. Stuffy. Hard to understand. Boring.

Right?

No.

Instead, imagine a play so dirty that it challenges you to keep your mind out of the gutter. Get ready for the front lines of the battle between the sexes when the Pocono Shakes! Theater Company opens “Much Ado About Nothing” on October 26th, 2012 at the Shawnee Playhouse. Join Benedick (yes, I spelled that correctly), Beatrice, Constable Dogberry, Claudio, Hero, John the Bastard, and a cast of other hilarious characters in the “merry war” presented by a stable of Northeast PA’s most seasoned and dedicated Shakespearean actors.

Image by Andrei Protsouk. Used with permission.

The brave but aging Benedick (Richard M. Rose), prince Don Pedro (Rob Taylor), his brother John the Bastard (Ryan Moore), and the celebrated Claudio (Aaron Pappalardo) return to Messina. They receive a hero’s welcome from Governor Leonato (Scotty McIntosh), his lovely daughter Hero (Jessica Santos), and the scathing wit of Beatrice (Gillian Bender). But it soon becomes apparent that Benedick and Beatrice have a history together, as they engage in what some spectators have called Shakespeare’s fiercest battle of words. Benedick swears before Don Pedro and Claudio that he will “die a bachelor,” while taunting Claudio, who has clearly fallen in love with Hero.

Meanwhile, John confers with his henchmen Conrade (Griffin Wagner) and Borachio (Mark Pender) to bring misfortune on his brother and Claudio. He learns that Claudio is to marry Hero, and decides that the best way to take revenge on Don Pedro and Claudio is to wreck the wedding.

The merry madness ensues with the proud but inept Constable Dogberry and partner Headborough Verges (Maureen Harms) mobilizing the ragtag city watch, while Benedick seeks to defend Beatrice’s honor. This is Shakespeare done right, with laughs at every turn and a love story that has remained famous for hundreds of years, and rightly so, backed up by a contemporary soundtrack performed live by the actors of Pocono Shakes!

Pocono Shakes! is dedicated to shaking up Shakespeare and giving him back his groove. They have an absolute, no-discrimination policy and encourage all actors to audition for any and all open roles. Find PoconoShakes on Facebook!

Artistic Director Richard M. Rose is an award-winning actor, director, producer, and teacher. He studied with the Royal Shakespeare Company and has worked at Shakespeare’s Globe, The American Globe, NJ Shakespeare Festival, Hudson Valley Shakespeare, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, and more.

For tickets please contact the Shawnee Playhouse online at www.TheShawneePlayhouse.com, or phone 570-421-5093.